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History of Art Symposium Part II: "Contemporary Strategies in Documentary Photography" with Allan Sekula and Sally Stein

February 6, 2010 at 1:00 pm - 5:30 pm

See Jan. 30 for Part I with Alec Soth. This symposium explores new practices in documentary photography through the work of one of its most important contemporary practitioners. Since the 1970s, Allan Sekula has been on the forefront of documentary practice, expanding our understanding of the photographic “objectivity” in his dual role as both photographer and theoretician. Among the many questions his work has raised are the following: How can socially and politically engaged photographers represent the effects of violence and exploitation without re-victimizing their subjects? Can photographs depict the hidden networks of power that today characterize global societies? And is it possible for photography to document the world and simultaneously make its spectators aware of the shifting and contextual nature of photographic meaning? By tackling these difficult questions in his work, Sekula has expanded both the practice and the concept of documentary photography for more than three decades. Sekula is to visit campus and introduce his most recent work, demonstrating why his practice of documentation remains among the most compelling of the early twenty-first century. There will be a “response” to the photographer by Michigan faculty members, demonstrating the influence of the photographer’s theory and practice on current scholarship.


February 6, 2010
1:00 pm - 5:30 pm